Responsive web and app design: new trends on the horizon, in 2021.

Although software development in Sri Lanka started out as an offshoring destination for IT services, this has long since moved from being just a niche operation that only serves to reduce labour costs for international clientele. With leverage from leading cloud support services, the country’s IT landscape has evolved to deliver more than just application development services – but also lead in terms of delivering the best strategies based on today’s fast-changing technology advancements.

Responsive design, just like any other application development aspect (as well as the technology space at large) is constantly experiencing rapid change too. What was once only subject to screen sizes is now under consideration for much more – ranging from smart devices to internet connectivity. As always, technology goes hand-in-hand with consumer demands, economic shifts and business objectives. Together, we have an intricate mix of variables, all of which determine what needs to be prioritized in the area of responsive digital design.

Likewise, here are a few such trends, spanning across the consumer-economic-business spectrum.

Smart call-to-action placements.

It’s true that responsive design, at its essence, is about ensuring that your website or application is compatible with screens of any dimension. So it is self-explanatory that important features such as call-to-action buttons are also moulded accordingly. Or is it, really? In the wake of designing for multiple devices, screens and even operating systems, CTAs can be an area of oversight. While it is necessary for your application to mould itself to any device or screen dimension, it’s wise to pay extra attention to CTA buttons and navigation. For at the end of the day, the ultimate objective of any business is to drive conversions and sales – and strategic CTA placement is what will help spearhead this goal.

Prioritizing page load speeds.

Responsive design, and UI/UX design in general, is closely tied to page load speeds. For one, the manner in which images and other visual elements are placed determine overall load time. On the other hand, the level of optimization done for visual elements also impact how long it takes for any given page to load. Page load and consumer engagement share a simple relationship, though; if pages take too long to load, users are going to get frustrated and abandon your website/application.

Search engines are also monitoring this at the same time. Higher page load times and increasing bounce rates are a sign for search engine bots to place such applications further down the list of search results. In other words, high page load times negatively impact SEO. Therefore, focusing on how your website can be rendered such that it fits the dimensions of a user’s device, while being fast enough at load time is something that needs to always be considered – since the implications are many.

Responsiveness in the wake of poor internet connectivity.

Many businesses, irrespective of size or sector, have been gradually expanding to markets outside of their regular geographical region. While this brings in greater scope in terms of a larger customer base, many hurdles stand in the way – some of which are out of control. From an application standpoint, poor internet connectivity can significantly compromise the overall rendition and quality of your business’s digital presence. While spotty internet connections cannot be controlled, the calibre of your application can be moderated to the point where it can function at peak performance – in spite of poor connectivity.

From a business standpoint, variables such as internet connectivity stands between a high-potential customer base and business goals. But it doesn’t have to. With the right responsive design toolkit, this can be circumvented to reveal digital applications that are expertly crafted to withstand such challenges.

Making the most of white space and overall simplicity.

The adage ‘less is more’ is a highly viable one, in the field of responsive design. Just like how clutter in and around our homes can hamper our sense of wellbeing, an overload of elements and options within an application can overwhelm users to the point of abandonment. Colours that contrast with one another (especially white) along with ample spacing between elements is a UI strategy that has been in place for a long time now – and for good reason. Because this works, designers capitalize on simplicity to offer key features within easy reach, delivering business objectives while maintaining an interface that is easy on the eye.

This doesn’t mean that intricate visual elements such as hand-drawn illustrations and 3D animations are obsolete. Instead of occupying the entire application, such elements can be strategically placed to indicate a focal point – even using them for displaying dynamic bits of data that change on a real-time basis.

In a nutshell…

As the world keeps changing around us, so does the scope of technology. Responsive design, just like any other field within the arena of application development, is prone to changes depending on what’s shifting in the world around us. Businesses have become more autonomous than ever before; with backing from globally renowned cloud service providers, especially by means of partnerships (such as an AWS partner, for example), companies now call the ultimate shots on what to utilize, how much, when and where.

Consumers are no different either; with endless options out there, the need to stay loyal to a singular brand alone is almost non-existent. In this regard, the level of engagement you are able to attain from your users is the true test of your business’s competencies. In other words, high engagement rates and low bounce rates determine the overall satisfaction of your customers – which can result in favourable levels of conversion and revenue in turn.

This is why responsive designs are important, in essence. How well your website or application moulds itself to varying devices, screens and operating systems can greatly improve user retention levels for helping overarching business objectives. As SEO also gets subsequently impacted, the quality of your application’s design bears many implications than otherwise expected.